76. Editorial Note

During the first six weeks of 1973, Congress continued to discuss linking the granting of most-favored-nation (MFN) trading status to the Soviet Union with the issue of Soviet exit fees. On February 6, Secretary of State Rogers reported in his evening report to President Nixon: “Senator Jackson will join Chairman Mills and Congressman Vanik Wednesday [February 7] to announce submission in the House of the Vanik bill to bar MFN to the USSR until the Jewish emigration tax is reduced. Vanik claims 238 co-sponsors (218 is a majority) and late reports put the figure at 250. Mills will be a co-sponsor. Jackson will probably not announce submission of his identical text but may reveal how [Page 262] many co-sponsors he now has—according to his staff, at least 76. Vanik told us this afternoon that his move is designed as a demonstration to the Soviets and the Administration that the Congress means business. Jackson’s staff take a similar position that this is another turn of the screw.” In his evening report to the President the following day, February 7, Rogers confirmed that Mills announced his co-sponsorship of the VanikJackson bill. He added: “Privately, Vanik yesterday urged us to work out a compromise with the Soviets, and Jackson’s and Javits’ staffs have repeated their requests for a report on the Department’s negotiations with the Soviets on the subject.” (Both National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 49, President’s Daily Brief, February 1–15, 1973)

On February 15, National Security Council Staff member Helmut Sonnenfeldt wrote to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger: “Wilbur Mills has informed Shultz that MFN must be submitted as part of comprehensive trade legislation. Accordingly, current thinking of Treasury, State, and CIEP is to handle USSR MFN request as part of broader MFN request in comprehensive trade bill with President requesting authority—much along lines of current Exim authority—to permit entry into effect of MFN with any country when he finds it is in national interest to do so.” Sonnenfeldt continued: “This approach has its pitfalls: Jackson Amendment on Soviet exit fees may jeopardize or delay overall trade bill; and grouping the Romanians together with the USSR in this ‘any country’ language may get Romania hung up on the Soviet exit fee issue.” (Ibid., Kissinger Office Files, Box 30, HAK Trip Files, HAK Bangkok, Vientiane, Hanoi, Hong Kong, Peking, Tokyo Trip, Feb. 7–20, 1973, TOHAK 141–200)

Additional documentation on the administration’s efforts to defeat the JacksonVanik bill or to mitigate its effect is in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XXXI, Foreign Economic Policy, 1973–1976.